Cephus returns to action in abridged indoor Spring Game

Wide receiver Quintez Cephus returned to action for the first time this spring after missing the latter part of last season with a right leg injury. 

Wide receiver Quintez Cephus returned to action for the first time this spring after missing the latter part of last season with a right leg injury. 

Image By: Brandon Moe

Friends, family, prospective recruits and alumni poured into the McClain Center Friday evening for Wisconsin football’s 12th spring practice. The Badgers were scheduled to play their Spring Game Friday night, but were forced to cancel due to inclement weather. Instead, UW held a full-contact scrimmage indoors.

Quintez Cephus, who led the Badgers in touchdown receptions and racked up 30 catches for 501 yards in 2017, returned to field in limited action — his first action of spring camp. Cephus was enjoying a breakout sophomore season before he broke his right leg against Indiana.

“He’s been champing at the bit,” head coach Paul Chryst said. “It’s been a long time. “When you know [Quintez], you know a big part of it is being around the guys. He’s with them in the weight room, but it’s different. I think he’s excited and he wants to do more. Next week he can get more work.”

Tons of former players watched on from the sidelines as the Badgers scrimmaged. Chryst, after practice, recognized the importance of the program’s alumni.

“It’s their program,” Chryst said. “They’re the ones who built this. Anytime we can bring them back it’s a good thing. To connect them with this year’s team is really good, and you appreciate the guys that make the effort to come back.”

Early enrollee wide receiver Taj Mustapha got things going in the scrimmage, catching a 20-yard pass to the two-yard line, before senior running back Mark Saari punched in the touchdown three plays later.

Senior kicker Rafael Gaglianone had a rough scrimmage. He saw his PAT after Saari’s touchdown blocked, and later missed a field goal attempt wide right. His next two attempts were good, albeit his last attempt slammed in off the left upright.

The other early enrollee wide receiver, Aron Cruickshank, looked sharp Friday evening, highlighted by a 20-yard rushing attempt. In addition to working with the receivers, Cruickshank has been practicing kick and punt returns throughout spring camp.

The highlight of Friday’s scrimmage had to be sophomore running back Sam Brodner. Brodner scored on a 25-yard run, juking cornerback Donte Burton before running right through safety Ryan O’Connell.

Junior running back Bradrick Shaw closed the scrimmage with a five-yard touchdown reception.

Although forced to practice indoors, Chryst believes they were able to accomplish everything they needed, but regretted not being able to play in Camp Randall in front of thousands of Badger fans.

"It’s certainly disappointing for our fans who wanted a chance to see our team and for our players who always look forward to playing in Camp Randall,” Chryst said earlier in the week in a release. “Unfortunately some things are beyond your control.”

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